The one thing the nonsellers all had in common? Carpet.
Hatred of wall-to-wall carpet may be a very Manhattan-specific thing; here, the fashion is for exposed hardwood floors dotted with scatter rugs. But it's good to know what works, and what doesn't.
To that end, HomeGain.com, a real estate web site, surveyed hundreds of Realtors to see what improvements home sellers should make in order to maximize price.
The top five are:
- Clean and de-clutter.
- Home staging.
- Lighten and brighten.
- Landscape front/back.
- Repair plumbing.
For those of you who are wondering, "yes, but what does 'clean and de-clutter' mean?' I would say that your agent can be a pretty good guide as to what needs to be done. In general, though, you want the entryway of a home to look sparse, the closets (especially the front and the master bedroom) to look as organized as if they were pictures in a closet catalog, and for your house to have no smell whatsoever (have a friend come over as a sniffer, because if you have a pet, or smoke, or are even accustomed to your old house's mustiness, you're not going to be aware of it).
If you want to make yourself really feel better, click for some "before-and-after" shots from the Style Network's "Clean House" TV show.
"Home staging" is a specific discipline, and it involves organizing collections, de-personalizing a house (maybe the buyer can't see themselves in your home if they're looking at ten of your wedding photos), and organizing furniture to maximize flow. "Lightening and brightening" -- well, I have sellers now who have a north-facing room that the kids are in a lot, and it's painted a lovely sage green, but so many buyers complain that it's dark that I gave the sellers a choice of white, off-white, or butter yellow.